Jerome Robinson rising above North Carolina recruiting snub at Boston College

first_img Published on January 23, 2018 at 11:06 pm Contact Bobby: Jerome Robinson ventured to Chapel Hill basketball camps numerous summers growing up near Raleigh, N.C. His bedroom walls “had to be blue.” Tar Heels jerseys and shorts filled his drawers.Jeremy, his younger brother, rooted for Duke, fanning the flames of their one-on-one games. When his father, Jerome Robinson Sr., unloaded shots at the Dean Smith Center alongside his UNC friends, Robinson tagged along.The father and son assembled a highlight tape and sent it to an assistant coach at UNC early in Robinson’s high school days. Though he was slender, lacking flashiness and had yet to rise to his current 6-foot-6 height, his father said he thought he had a chance. Robinson’s favorite team told him no.“We see you but you’re not quite there yet,” Robinson Sr. said, remembering the reply. The two printed it out. Robinson’s motivation for life had been dropped directly in his inbox.Robinson now leads a rejuvenated Boston College (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) program in scoring with his 18.3 points per game into BC’s game against Syracuse (13-6, 2-4) on Wednesday. The Eagles boast a win over then-No. 1 Duke, a massive stride in proving his home state wrong for snubbing him in recruitment. Duke once represented Robinson’s dream of playing in “The Triangle” of NC State, Duke and UNC.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMajor in-state programs wanted him for baseball, mandating he play year-round. But he would not quit hoops. North Carolina’s basketball scene had captivated Robinson.“Everybody loves basketball from grade school,” Robinson said. “Old people will come watch a kid play when he’s 12 years old if he’s really good. It’s just the culture down there. Basketball’s huge.”Robinson grew up and played baseball in Florida until second grade, but new basketball-obsessed friends in Raleigh influenced him to pick up hoops even though Robinson’s height did not hold a commanding presence. His father remembers him standing in doorways as a child, “trying to stretch himself and grow.”But Robinson enrolled in Needham Broughton High School at just 5-foot-9. Jeremy, three years younger, outgrew him. Between freshman and sophomore year, Robinson’s doctor predicted he’d only reach 6-foot-2.“He was devastated,” Amy Robinson, his mother, said. “But then as the time went on he started growing.”Robinson’s D1 credentials appeared as thin as his frame until he met Mark Gottfried, NCSU’s head coach from 2011-17. Gottfried’s sons, Cameron and Aaron, played at Needham Broughton and Robinson befriended Cam. Following the UNC email after sophomore year, Robinson sought Gottfried’s advice.Gottfried granted him access to the NCSU facilities to train, but Robinson wanted to know how he could make an ACC gym his own.“He was just saying (stay) at the point guard out of high school,” Robinson said. “Being able to shoot the ball, guarding different positions, stuff like that.”Jessica Sheldon | Staff PhotographerRobinson Sr. soon noticed his son gone until 10 or 11 p.m. every night, when he’d call for a ride home from campus. Gottfried, whose office overlooked the court, encouraged Robinson’s dream and praised his dedication, but stopped short of offering a scholarship.“It gave him validation,” Robinson Sr. Said, “when you have an ACC coach tell you that wherever you decide to go you’re going to be a hell of a guard.”Needham Broughton lost to Devonte’ Graham’s Brewster Academy in the Smith Center —or “Dean Dome” — to finish 2014 at 22-7. As a senior, Robinson’s 23-3 team defeated rival Milbrooke in a jam-packed gym in the Holiday Invitational and he scored 19 points per game throughout the season.The series of games featured the some of the country’s brightest prospects: Thon Maker, Brandon Ingram and Harry Giles. Robinson won MVP.Through it all, Robinson rounded out his game with Raleigh trainer Gawon Hyman, who worked with the Golden State Warriors’ David West and now-Kansas guard Graham.The two clicked. Hyman, a “cerebral,” detail-oriented coach, loved how Robinson arrived with specific points to improve upon. Early on Robinson shot threes, but as he grew taller he wanted to work on driving. Hyman adjusted the angles Robinson attacked the rim at, and it shocked him that while most students would take 10 shots from a spot and move on, Robinson demanded three straight makes to finish from himself or he wouldn’t budge.Robinson has expressed a desire to train in areas uncomfortable to him, Hyman said, which made it easy to prepare his game for the next level. It started with finishing through larger players.“Guys that were recruiting him … had a hard time believing that he could play point,” Hyman said. “It’s something we’d laugh about. I’d say ‘Wow, Jerome, are you surprised at this?’ He was like, ‘Don’t worry about it coach, we gotta show them.’”As more coaches questioned Robinson’s ball-handling capabilities, he brushed it off. But the only in-state offer that hit his table was from North Carolina Central.“It was tough,” Robinson said. “It was just trying to figure out why at first. My dad would just tell me everything will take care of itself. Which it did.”NCSU, Wake Forest, UNC and Duke sat silent, but 20 offers followed into senior year, including Clemson and Boston College, Robinson Sr. said. Only BC fit his desire to play and study business, forcing him to leave his home state despite his dream to play in North Carolina. He committed on his visit with a dose of hesitation, Robinson’s mother said.Year one, BC lost all 18 ACC matchups. Matt Milon, Idy Diallo and Sammy Barnes-Thompkins transferred, and Robinson’s roommate A.J. Turner left the following year.The weight of lifting up the program fell on Robinson, who stood up to the challenge, literally. He reached the 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-5 range he coveted as a child and used it to advance his inside game. He’s now listed at 6-foot-6.Hyman noticed the height increase while rewatching Robinson’s games. Hyman suddenly saw the emergence of both a mid-range and floater game that’s made Robinson “deadly” in the half court this season. He increased his two-point percentage from 44.7 to 46.6 percent freshman to sophomore year, and then to 49.1 this season.In Robinson’s second year, Ky Bowman entered the fold to share the ball-handling workload and, now at the off-guard position, Robinson has increased his three-point shooting to 45.1 percent.“It’s electric,” Robinson said. “We can both get downhill. We can both shoot the ball. We can both make hard shots and electric plays at the same time.”Jessica Sheldon | Staff PhotographerBowman rarely sheds his smile, saying it’s the back court’s job to get in opponent’s heads, not their own. While Robinson yelled “hit shots” stone-faced through a recent practice, Bowman laughed as a pass narrowly missed assistant coach Bill Wuczynski’s head.The duo played Duke within 11 points their first year together, adding to the motivation of the most recent matchup, this time in Boston.Bowman and Robinson combined for 54 points on 20-of-35 shooting on Dec. 9 vs. then-No.1 Duke, a win BC head coach Jim Christian demanded join the athletic office’s wall of greatest moments. Both guards began the game losing the ball on the ground to Duke guard Grayson Allen and surrendering transition points. Robinson, as he often does, lifted himself up, clapped his hands and moved on matching the Blue Devils point for point.With 11:44 remaining in the second half, Bowman tossed Robinson an alley-oop behind the defense to go ahead four. Robinson’s fifth three-point make in five attempts, deep on the left wing, lifted BC ahead for good with just over one minute remaining.“I used to think (about) that before,” Robinson said of the extra motivation vs. Duke. “(Now) I just take every game how it is now. I look at it as every schools should’ve recruited me. Not just those Carolina schools.”His shot solidified a win over a Duke team that would have been a dream come true at one point to play for. But three years in with the Eagles, Robinson has helped build something 700 miles north of Durham.His father looked down at the court to try and see Robinson among the mass of students swarming the court as the buzzer sounded on the historic 89-84 win. Suddenly, he spotted Robinson looking back.“It was just a smile, that was it,” Robinson Sr. said. “It was just a smile. That’s all.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

On deck: Mets at Dodgers, Thursday, 7:10 p.m.

first_imgTHE PITCHERSDODGERS LHP HYUN-JIN RYU (3-6, 4.35 ERA)Vs. Mets: 2-0, 1.80 ERAAt Dodger Stadium: 13-10, 3.34 ERAHates to face: Jay Bruce, 3 for 6 (.500), 2 home runs Loves to face: Rene Rivera, 0 for 7, 2 strikeoutsMETS LHP STEVEN MATZ (1-1, 3.21 ERA)Vs. Dodgers: 2-0, 1.50 ERAAt Dodger Stadium: 2-0, 1.50 ERAHates to face: Justin Turner, 2 for 8 (.250), 1 doubleLoves to face: Yasiel Puig, 0 for 8, 2 strikeoutsUPCOMINGFriday: Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland, 8-4, 3.42 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Alex Wood, 7-0, 1.90 ERA), 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LASaturday: Rockies (RHP Tyler Chatwood, 6-7, 4.08 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 10-2, 2.61 ERA), 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LASunday: Rockies (RHP German Marquez, 5-3, 3.92 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Brandon McCarthy, 6-3, 2.87 ERA), 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA METS at DODGERSWhen: 7:10 p.m.Where: Dodger StadiumTV: SportsNet LA (where available); MLB Network (out of market only)center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more